São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU IATA), in Guarulhos, Grande São Paulo, is the main international airport serving the city of São Paulo. With about 36 million passengers in 2016, it's South America's busiest airport and a major point of entry to the continent with nonstop flights from as far away as the Middle East.
The airport has three terminals:
- Terminal 1 — The smallest terminal, only serving domestic flights by Azul and Passaredo. It's accessed by a free shuttle bus from the other terminals.
- Terminal 2 — The airport's oldest and largest terminal is for the rest of the domestic flights and as well as many flights to destinations within Latin America. A walkway connects it to Terminal 3.
- Terminal 3 — This is the newest terminal of the airport, serving international flights including most intercontinental flights.
Guarulhos has a very good selection of intercontinental flights. In addition to flights from major airports in the Americas and Europe, there are nonstop flights from African (Addis Ababa, Casablanca, Johannesburg, Luanda) and Middle Eastern cities (Doha, Dubai), and Air China flies in from Beijing with a stop in Madrid.
Just a part of the domestic flights to São Paulo arrive at Guarulhos; the rest serve São Paulo–Congonhas Airport.
Non-airline shuttle buses are available from Guarulhos to Congonhas Airport (CGH IATA), Praça da República (Downtown), Paulista/Jardins region, Barra Funda bus station and Tietê bus station (fastest access to the subway). All lines except Congonhas connect to the Metrô. R$42 one-way. Lines 257 and 299 are regular urban buses, which go every 15-20 min to and from Tatuapé Metro station (line 3, red). The ride takes about 30 min (line 257 via Ayrton Senna, the other is slower) and costs only R$5.95 (Feb 2017), paid as you board. The bus driver provides change. Exit on the arrivals level at any terminal and follow the signs for the bus. The bus starts at Terminal 2 before heading to Terminal 3 and then 1, and it's recommended to board at Terminal 2 during peak times. Less comfy than the shuttles, but can prove faster way to Paulista (and elsewhere) on days with dense traffic, as it goes for the closest Metro station. While the bus has baggage racks, be aware that you might be denied access with luggage that won't fit on your lap.
LATAM, Gol and Azul, the three main Brazilian airlines, offer free shuttle buses for their passengers with flights to/from Guarulhos International Airport and Congonhas Domestic Airport. Check the schedules for TAM and Gol. If you're on a budget trip and have enough time, you can ride those buses to Congonhas airport (you must show your boarding pass or printed reservation to the bus driver) and then get a taxi to your destination. It will be much cheaper than getting a taxi directly from Guarulhos airport. The trip between those airports takes between 1-1½ hr. No reservation is required.
Line 13 of the São Paulo commuter rail system, operated by Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM), connects with the airport through Aeroporto-Guarulhos Station. The line operates Monday to Friday every 20 minutes; Saturdays every 20 minutes from 04:00 to 09:00 and from 17:00 to 20:00, and every 30 minutes at other times; Sundays and holidays every 30 minutes (as of July 2020).
Additionally, there is a "Connect" direct service to Brás railway station, linked to line 3-Red of the São Paulo Metro, and an "Airport Express" direct service to Luz station, linked to lines 1-Blue and 4-Yellow. The "Connect" service only operate at peak hours (05:00-09:00 and 16:00-20:00). The "Airport Express" service has 5 departures a day M-F, and 3 a day Sa Su and holidays (as of July 2020).
Aeroporto-Guarulhos station is opposite Terminal 1, which is Guarulhos Airport's smallest and least busy, and not linked to the other terminals except by a shuttle bus.
A taxi co-operative, Guarucoop (☏ São Paulo Airport Transfers provide upmarket vehicles and drivers, with the added convenience of an online booking service, and cost around R$140. A taxi ride into the city can take up to two hours during peak times, or around 45 minutes late at night or early in the morning.), has a monopoly on cabs leaving Guarulhos. They are plentiful and the queue is outside the arrival terminal. Credit-card users can pay for their journey in advance at the booth, although it's useful to have local currency as some international credit or debit cards do not work at some businesses in Brazil. Expect to pay about R$100–140 (depending upon your destination), as of October 2011, for the 25 km journey into the city. Passengers can ask to see the tabela, which shows the fares for each neighbourhood. Other options such as
Terminals 2 and 3 are next to each other connected by a walkway. Terminal 1, however, is further away and connected by a free shuttle bus.
Eat and drink
- 1 Fast Sleep Guarulhos, GRU Airport. Hotel for sleeping and shower in the GRU airport. There are actually two hotels, one in Terminal 2, near domestic arrivals, and another in a corridor in the 2nd floor, between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.
- 2 São Paulo Airport Marriott Hotel, Av Monteiro Lobato, no number, ☏ . Each room equipped with phones with voice mail, high speed internet, and multiple data ports.
The city of Guarulhos is nearby. The area surrounding the GRU airport contains very poor neighborhoods, and are certainly not a place to be explored in case you feel bored. Guarulhos' good neighborhoods are mostly in the area around the city center, although they require caution, especially during the night, as in São Paulo.